Project #2415

Improve education for Nepali girls and minorities

by The Santi School Project

Shari Davis & Ellen Currin are InTheField Travelers with GlobalGiving who are visiting our partners’ projects throughout Nepal. Their “Postcard” from their most recent visit in Nepal:

 After half and hour of winding through the streets of Bagbazaar in Kathmandu, I finally made it to the office of The Santi School Project’s program director, Bijaya. We sat for tea, and I was pleased to hear about one of the few organizations that works to improve Nepali public schools, rather than building private alternatives. Bijaya spoke about how Santi School’s work is two-fold: they do renovations to fix school buildings, and they provide teacher trainings so that the new schools can be filled with quality teachers.

 Bijaya explained that Santi School’s trainings go beyond the basic government teaching curriculum. They place an emphasis on clean water and sanitation, as well as covering early childhood development and a new experimental English curriculum. Bijaya said that in the past, they hired outside trainers to give trainings, but in the past year, Santi School has piloted their own training which has proven to be a huge success! In the year to come, they will work to scale up their trainings so they can reach even more teachers.  

The Shilapatra, or dedication, stone at the school
The Shilapatra, or dedication, stone at the school

Even though primary school enrollment is improving nationwide, the government in Nepal simply does not have enough money for education, particularly to renovate schools originally built half a century ago.

Such is the case at Gupteshwor Secondary School, home to 250 students in kindergarten through grade 10, which recently expanded with a two-story four-room building. Government funds were insufficient to complete construction beyond the external walls and the roof. Consequently, the ground floor flooded when it rained and four different classes had been conducted in the corners of a single open room.

Our work was recently completed, and the school held an inauguration ceremony April 23. We've helped the school by:

  • hanging doors
  • putting shutters on the windows
  • plastering the interior walls, floor and ceiling
  • creating a partition inside the building to divide it into classrooms
  • covering the stairway to prevent flooding
  • installing a drinking water system

This the third school that The Santi School Project has helped recently to complete reconstruction projects in which government funds were insufficient, either by providing funds to finish construction or to furnish classrooms with desks and chairs.

The school is located in Laliput District, in the Kathmandu Valley and near Vishwamitra School, where we are conducting our teacher training program as well as helping build new classrooms. The majority of the students at Gupteshwor are members of the indigenous Tamang ethnic minority.

We're grateful for your support to help make this project possible. The total cost of the project was approximately $8,000, with the community contributing 25%.

For photos from the inauguration ceremony for the completed building, follow the link to our Facebook page below.

Finished school building
Finished school building


Students in Nepal share long desks and benches
Students in Nepal share long desks and benches

 The students at Dhadkharka Primary School in Nepal don’t have to sit on the floor anymore.

 For the 150 students there in kindergarten through 5th grade, Santi School provided:

  • 30 pairs of desks and benches (each pair can accommodate 3-5 students).
  • 5 sets of large tables and chairs
  • 5 book racks
  • carpeting for 2 classrooms and 60 mats for students in kindergarten, first and second grade
  • whiteboards with markers (instead of chalkboards and chalk),

 The furniture arrived last month. The school is located in the same general area of central Nepal as our other projects, about a day’s journey from the capital, Kathmandu.

Mahesh Dahal, an alumnus of the school who now lives in Northern Virginia and serves on our board of trustees, helped raise funds for the project, and the community contributed some labor as well.

At a small ceremony to unveil the new furniture, local activists and politicians joined the school's teachers to express their gratitude.

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Kindergarteners sit on pillows on the carpet
Kindergarteners sit on pillows on the carpet
These students had been sitting on bare cement
These students had been sitting on bare cement


students in a new classroom at Dhadkharka School
students in a new classroom at Dhadkharka School

The Santi School Project is providing new furniture and other classroom improvements for 150 students at Dhadkharka Primary School in Nepal. Students at the school have been sitting on the floor.

The work—which includes new desks, benches, white boards, carpet and seat cushions, as well as teaching materials—will be completed by the end of November. The total cost is estimated at $4,400.

The local community has agreed to contribute 20 percent of the total cost, a stipulation that is required of all of our projects. The Santi School Project and Mahesh Dahal, an alumnus of the school and a member of our board of directors, will raise the remaining amount.

Dhadkharka Primary School is located in the Kavre district of central Nepal, about a two and a half hour drive from Dolalghat, the nearest town. The classrooms were originally built in 1990 with support from the local government and village residents.

Two new classroom buildings were constructed recently because the threat of erosion from landslides made the original structure unsafe. However, the school lacked funds to replace its furniture, which had fallen apart after 20 years of use. 



This block of classrooms was collapsing on itself
This block of classrooms was collapsing on itself


We’ve completed another reconstruction project! The “silapatra” (dedication stone) that records for posterity the contributions by the Santi School Project and our partner, Youth For Nepal, was put in place just a few days ago. It was the final touch on work that began back in November.

The construction work was substantial (building a new block of 4 classrooms from scratch) and came in on budget, with the villagers donating their time and raw materials as promised.

Currently, about 100 students from kindergarten to 5th grade attend the school; the principal estimates that enrollment may increase by as much as 15% to 20% after declining because of poor infrastructure.


Overcrowding has forced Shree Vishwamitra Ganesh Secondary School to hold classes in private homes that are scheduled to be demolished. We’re providing funds in combination with a government grant to build a new 2-story, 4-room school building.

The school has more than 300 students up to grade 10 and has a strong academic reputation. 

Rabindra Maharjan, chairman of our operations in Nepal, raised the funds for the project last summer while he was in Imst, Austria, for the annual NepalFest celebration.


Earlier this month, at a ceremony that included in attendance prominent local politicians and education officials, we honored 3 teachers and 3 schools who have done the best job of implementing the principles of our early education teacher training in their classrooms.

The winners were chosen during a month-long series of classroom observations. The teachers were given a cash prize; the schools received educational materials.

The contest was part of modifications we’ve made to our teacher training program to provide additional incentives for teachers in rural areas to use the training with their students.


 Australian Clem Yong volunteered at Santi School in March and shares what he calls “one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.” He came prepared with lesson plans, helped our students write letters to new pen pals in Australia and even found time to run a short first aid course. Thanks, Clem!

The finished product!
The finished product!



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Organization Information

The Santi School Project

Location: Ellicott City, MD - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Christopher Heun
Halethorpe, MD United States

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